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Obituary of Richard Willson (1936 – 2021) – Resident of Walnut Creek, California

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Richard Eugene Willson
August 4, 1936 – October 22, 2021
Resident of Walnut Creek, California
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our older brother, Richard Eugene Willson, who passed away on October 22, 2021 from the devastating effects of Parkinson’s disease.
Dick was a fraternal twin born in Martinez, California to Thomas Allan Willson and Bernice Kapp Willson. At the age of eight, he won over his younger siblings, Ann and John, another group of fraternal twins.
Dick attended Martinez Public Schools and graduated from Alhambra High School in 1954. He studied chemistry at Cal Berkeley and joined the United States Army in 1959 and served for 2 years. He was stationed in France, where he started his love of travel and developed his taste for different types of food.
Dick was employed by the Shell Development Company, starting his career with Shell in 1958. He worked at the Shell Martinez plant as a student and later at the Shell Emeryville plant. He moved to Houston, Texas in 1982 and continued with Shell as a research chemist until his retirement in 1991. Dick was well respected in his field and continued his many friendships with his colleagues at frequent lunches after his graduation. retirement.
Retirement allowed Dick to travel more. He was a passionate member of the American Theater Organ Society and the Organ Historical Society. He has enjoyed domestic and international travel as a member of these societies to organ conventions across the United States as well as in Europe.
Dick was avid pipe organ enthusiast and helped relocate and reinstall many pipe organs that were to be destroyed. He was one of a small group that rescued and reinstalled the pipe organ that was housed in the former Bella Roma pizzeria on Alhambra Avenue in Martinez, California where pipe organ music was enjoyed by customers for many years.
Dick installed a pipe organ in his Houston home and loved to play it. Even though he was paralyzed from Parkinson’s disease, he gave his family and friends a farewell mini-concert on his pipe organ – without shaking – before leaving Houston.
In December 2016, Dick returned to California to be close to his family. He moved to Byron Park in Walnut Creek where he made many friendships with residents and staff and was known as an excellent conversationalist and listener. In poor health, he moved into a hospice at Gabriel’s House in Concord, Calif., In July 2021, where he died on October 22.
Dick was killed by his twin brother, James Allan Willson, in 2003. He is survived by his younger siblings Ann Willson Wensel (Ed) of Livermore & John Willson (Ginger) of Martinez. Dick’s family thank the caregivers at Byron Park and Gabriel’s House for their excellent care and sense of humor in their care for Dick.
No service took place at Dick’s request. All donations can be made on Dick’s behalf to your local SPCA or animal rescue organization, as Dick was a lifelong cat owner and cat lover. At your next celebration, raise a glass to Dick!

See the online memorial for Richard Eugene Willson

Published by East Bay Times on November 27, 2021.


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